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Author Topic: Durbin and DeLauro bills are DYING. HELP!!!!  (Read 17285 times)
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CodyBear
Long-Standing Member
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 391


« on: May 22, 2007, 06:43:45 AM »

I
It's great that Durbin (senate) and DeLauro (house) got some bills rolling to address the food safety problem.  But, as of today, May 22, those bills are stuck.  What that means politically is that bills can die by simply not doing anything.  The Senate bill that Durbin introduced (really an amendment to a bill that already had some chance of passing as law), has been referred to the House for action.  The bill that DeLauro introduced in the House, has been referred to the Senate for action.  And neither the Senate nor House are acting on the bills sent to them by the other.

Even though both bills passed unanimously where they were introduced, in the House and Senate, they are two separate, different pieces of legislation.  For a bill to become law, it has to pass BOTH the house and senate, then the President has to sign it, and then have the Appropriation Committee FUND the bill.  Currently, the bill by Durbin has passed the Senate, but not the House.  The bill by DeLauro has passed the House, but not the Senate.  Durbin (in the senate) and DeLauro (in the house) has sent their legislation to the other for action.  Neither House or Senate has taken up the bills by the other.  They are shown as simply being "referred" to the other.  And there they have sat for weeks without action, without being debated, without ANYTHING!!

Those bills are sitting there with no actions being taken.  They aren't on any calendar for action or debate.  They are being KILLED, make no mistake about that!  this is an often used political tactic to kill a bill by quietly letting it just 'go away' after the headlines have cooled down.  A senator or representative can be AGAINST a bill, but still vote "yah" then sagotage the bill later (they do this to appear sympathetic to voters when their real agenda is otherwise...such as in support of big business of another PAC). 

One reporter said that when everyone, left, right, middle, independent, etc., all agree on a bill, it has no teeth.  This bill has teeth, but the problem is that there may be an underlying intention to KILL the bills by doing nothing on them. 

THESE BILLS WILL DIE if you don't call your Senators and Representatives and tell them to GET THOSE BILLS ROLLING, and that you DEMAND funding for those bills.  What makes a bill toothless is to pass the bill, but not fund it by Appropriations. 

The simple fact here, folks, is that if you don't start calling and doing postcard blitz's and everything else you can think of to get those bills in action again, then they WILL DIE.  If the current legislative session ends without any further action being taken, then these bills will be dead forever. 

Don't let that happen.  If you let this happen, all of this will have been for nothing.  Try to get your mind around the political world.  This isn't accidental.  The lack of action on Durbin and DeLauro legislation is with the hope that the pet people won't notice.  So, NOTICE what is happening here!  We've been thrown a bone by the unanimous passage of the bills in the house or senate, but there's no real meat here unless one of these bills starts to move again.

If we want changes in legislation like food safety and COOL, we MUST start being a little more politically aware of how the game is played.  We aren't organized like the big PACs (political action committees), but we are number-strong! and that is our strength.  It is stronger than a paid lobbyist.  So please please please go into high Action-mode and start doing what you can to let your senators know that you expect these bills to keep moving.  Do it today.

When you call or contact them, ask the very pointed question of why they are letting this legislation sit without action.  The bill numbers are listed below.  DEMAND an answer:  WHY is the House/Senate not acting on these bills?Huh  Tell them that you expect this to be a PRIORITY!!!

I can't say this forcefully enough!  YOU must start calling, sending postcards, letters, petitions, whatever ASAP!!  We are running out of TIME!!!


Information compiled from senate.gov website, regarding the following bills:
Food safety legislation:    S.654, S.1274, S.1292    H.R.1148, H.R.2108

« Last Edit: May 22, 2007, 08:01:45 AM by CodyBear » Logged
AnnJackson11
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 9


« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2007, 08:28:27 AM »

CodyBear,

Thanks for letting me know. I will get busy contacting my Senators and Representatives here in Texas.

To All,
Please don't let them sweep this under the rug. Make a bunch of noise...now...PLEASE!
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bridget
Newbie
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Posts: 3


« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2007, 08:38:19 AM »

Could you post the bill #'s so we can be specific when we contact our lawmakers?  Thank you!

Also,  it might be a good idea to post this on other forums here because some posters may not check out this particular forum each time they come here....just a thought.

Thanks!    Smiley
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bridget
Newbie
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Posts: 3


« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2007, 01:20:48 PM »

Thanks so much, CodyBear.... Smiley
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3catkidneyfailure
Guest
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2007, 10:38:23 PM »

Thanks, CodyBear. Tried to respond to my Senators and Congress representatives by congress.org email. Asked congress.org to send
me copies and so far have received nothing. Anyone know if congress.org emails actually get to Congress?
3cats
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Eympire
Full Member
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Posts: 88


« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2007, 05:16:40 AM »

I shall be calling & emailing
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cynthiak23
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 401

Crystal Blue Persuasion


WWW
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2007, 05:17:51 AM »

Wait a Minute! What is This? Huh

Don't get me wrong, I am not against the Food Safety Bill. After reading these bills, I am very concerned that dietary supplements & applied nutrition have been exempted from these bills. I would like to know why.

This needs to be addressed concerning S. 654 and H.R.1148


This is some articles on this subject...

Sen. Richard Durbin (Asst. Minority Leader for the Democrats) has reintroduced S.654 under the pretext of the need for food safety protection, thereby creating a new federal food safety agency. This is very dangerous legislation for consumers of dietary supplements as it would repeal the DSHEA Act of 1994, and if signed into law, as currently proposed, dietary supplements would be reclassified and regulated like drugs. The companion bill, H.R. 1148, was introduced by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. Both introduced similar legislation at the end of the last Congress.

Dietary supplements are now regulated as foods under the Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act (FD&CA). This bill contains exemption language applying to dietary supplements so that the regulation of dietary supplements would not be reassigned to the new federal food safety agency. Instead, supplements would remain under the jurisdiction of the FDA, which would not have the authority to regulate foods. Dietary supplements would have to be reclassified and regulated as drugs by the FDA.

LOOK WHAT I FOUND ON WHAT ESCHENBACH WANTS TO DO
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55370

[/b]Feds eye control of vitamins, supplements – even water!
FDA looks to regulate natural substances as drugs, with prescriptions from doctors


The Food and Drug Administration says vitamins, supplements, herbs and other natural substances, including water when it is used to "treat" dehydration, should be classified as drugs...

The government agency under the direction of Andrew C. von Eschenbach, who became commissioner in 2006, also has put its "Complementary and Alternative Medicine Products and Their Regulation by the Food and Drug Administration" on a fast track for implementation.

But parents' groups, natural remedy interests, food and herb businesses and others are horrified. A group called Gentle Christian Mothers alerted its constituency in no uncertain terms.

The FDA is trying to regulate all things that are considered by them to be treatment for disease. They want to regulate vitamins, herbs, alternative therapies (things like hot stone therapy), even down to juices and holy water," the warning said. "It might mean having to go to a doctor or medical professional for vitamins."

Health freedom action alert:
FDA attempting to regulate supplements, herbs and juices as "drugs"
http://www.newstarget.com/021789.html
« Last Edit: May 30, 2007, 09:05:38 AM by cynthiak23 » Logged

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Offy
Guest
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2007, 08:06:53 AM »

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/committee.xpd?id=SSAF

S654 went to the above committee. You need to call & write your representatives  & write the folks in the committees.

H.R. 1148 was referred to :House Energy and Commerce; House Agriculture
 


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3catkidneyfailure
Guest
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2007, 11:37:50 AM »

Here's a model letter which is a little more outspoken on the issue of food safety legislation and its passage. 3cats

Dear Senator/Congressperson:
Food safety legislation:    S.654, S.1274, S.1292    H.R.1148, H.R.2108
 
Why are these bills sitting in the House/Senate with no further action being
taken after being unanimously passed in each respective body? Why isn't
it your office's priority to pass and fund this legislation?
 
Do you think no one is out here watching what you have done in terms of legistion
but not passed and appropriated the funding for? After all the affected animals are
dead, do you genuinely think no one is going to bother with this issue of pet and
human food safety and the ineffectiveness of the under-funded and under-staffed
FDA?
 
As a [name of your state] voter, I demand that your office take immediate action to
implement these food safety bills, as well as better independent food safety testing for pets
and humans by an improved Federal agency.
 
See the Boston Globe article of May 22, 2007, by Diedtra Henderson, "Pet food
makers working to bring trust back to the table," in case you a need a model for
appropriate FDA testing of pet and human food.
 
See the legislation currently being adopted in New Jersey in case you are out
of ideas on how to implement civil penalties against violators of pet and human
safety. You might want to include criminal penalties for food producers who
affect human beings.
 
There are lots of voters who are carefully watching how you behave on this
issue, not wanting any further animal, child, grandchild, or any other family
member to die because of unsafe contaminated food in the United States. 
 
This issue is not going to go away or be swept into the litter box of Congressional
inaction.
 
Please feel free to respond and tell me what your office plans to do regarding
your vote on S.654, S.1274, S.1292, H.R.1148, H.R.2108.
 
If these preliminary bills don't get implemented and there is no restructuring of the
FDA that guarantees a real program of pet and human food safety in the U.S.A.,
don't look for my vote or the votes of a whole lot of other citizens concerned about
this important issue.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2007, 11:39:45 AM by 3catkidneyfailure » Logged
Steve
Hero Member
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Posts: 1846



« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2007, 02:24:37 PM »

Keep the pressure on people.  KEEP THE PRESSURE ON.


WASHINGTON, May 23 (Reuters) - The Bush administration on Wednesday pressed visiting Chinese officials about food safety, a key issue for U.S. consumers after a toxic chemical surfaced in imported pet food and sparked worries about livestock feed.

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said U.S. officials told a Chinese delegation at high-level talks in the U.S. capital that the safety of food and medicine imports was a "top concern."

"Recent events have forced very clearly as one of our top concerns the safety of food and medicine," Leavitt told reporters in a briefing after a two-day "strategic economic dialogue" involving scores of senior officials from both countries.

The safety of food imports from China came under intense scrutiny after melamine, a chemical used in plastics and fertilizers, surfaced in U.S. pet food this year, killing pets and prompting a wave of recalls. Petfood scraps were also used in some livetock rations, briefly interrupting the marketing of some poultry, hogs and fish.

Leavitt and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach raised the need for better communication with China, firm registration and other steps.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, who also oversees some food safety issues, said the two nations would continue talks on the issue throughout the week

"The Chinese government clearly understands the world marketplace will swiftly disadvantage any nation or economy or firm that is not able to establish a sense of confidence and reliability," Johanns said.

U.S. lawmakers also have said they plan to press the issue with members of the Chinese delegation this week.

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N23233687.htm
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BruinMike
Full Member
***
Posts: 89


« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2007, 02:38:51 PM »

Cody,

IMPORTANT! Have you read SB 1274? This was sponsored by Sen. Durbin on May 2nd, and is
now in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions - chaired by Sen. Kennedy.

This is the one with the meat on it. DON"T rally the troops around the wrong thing!!!!!!

You're right in that we need to get off our duffs. The amendment to SB 1082 was mostly fluff.
SB 1274 is where we should focus.

You can read it at: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:s1274is.txt.pdf

Let's all get going and focus our efforts on the correct item.

Mike Floyd
mike@defendourpets.org
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BruinMike
Full Member
***
Posts: 89


« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2007, 04:18:25 PM »

Here's a list of the Senators on the Committee for
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions where
SB 1274 was sent on May 9th. THESE are
the people we need to reach.

SENATOR   WEBSITE CONTACT FORMS   DIRECT EMAIL

Edward Kennedy (MA)       kennedy.senate.gov/senator/contact.cfm

Christopher Dodd (CT)   dodd.senate.gov/index.php?q=node/3130

Tom Harkin (IA)   harkin.senate.gov/contact/contact.cfm

Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)   mikulski.senate.gov/mailform.html

Jeff Bingaman (NM)      senator_bingaman@bingaman.senate.gov

Patty Murray (WA)   murray.senate.gov/email/index.cfm

Jack Reed (RI)   reed.senate.gov/contact/contact-share.cfm
jack@reed.senate.gov

Hillary Rodham Clinton(NY)   clinton.senate.gov/contact

Barack Obama (IL)   obama.senate.gov/contact/

Bernard Sanders (VT)   sanders.senate.gov/comments/

Sherrod Brown (OH)   brown.senate.gov/contact.cfm

Michael B. Enzi (WY)   enzi.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactInform...

Judd Gregg (NH)   gregg.senate.gov/sitepages/contact.cfm
mailbox@gregg.senate.gov

Lamar Alexander (TN)   alexander.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home

Richard Burr (NC)   burr.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home

Johnny Isakson (GA)   isakson.senate.gov/contact.cfm

Lisa Murkowski (AK)   murkowski.senate.gov/contact.cfm

Orrin G. Hatch (UT)   hatch.senate.gov/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Offices.Contact

Pat Roberts (KS)   roberts.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactInf...

Wayne Allard (CO)   allard.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home

Tom Coburn, M.D. (OK)   coburn.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home

THIS IS THE COMMITTEE'S HOMEPAGE. They have an email link
to the entire committee.

http://help.senate.gov/./About.html

Mike Floyd
mike@defendourpets.org

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BruinMike
Full Member
***
Posts: 89


« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2007, 04:23:30 PM »

Hi Everyone,
 
After having read SB 1274 three or four times ----- here are my initial observations:
 
1. The bill allows the Secretary of the FDA, TWO years to establish a system for certification of foreign food imports.
 
     I think this is way too much time. How about 6 mos? And what about foreign
     foodstuffs being imported during this period? In the case of known violators (China), ALL importation of foodstuffs should be halted until certification is approved.
 
2. The bill allows for 5-year certification for each country exporting foodstuffs into the US.
 
     How about 2-year certification with an annual certification fee? AND, tariffs placed on foreign food imports to encourage food processors to buy domestically? All tariffs and fees would be 100% allocated for hiring more FDA agents for inspection and enforcement.
 
3. The bill calls for audits of foreign food at least every 5 years.
 
     This is far too long between inspections of foreign processing and quality control procedures.
     How about ---- at least every 2 years? or annually?
 
4. Establishes penalties for violators of $10,000 per instance.
 
     Ridiculously low! This is chump change to the corporations involved. How about $100,000 and we'll settle for $50,000.
 
5. Allows 18 months for the FDA to enact standards for:
     a. processing & ingredient standards & ingredient definitions for pet food
     b. labeling standards for (1) nutritional information and (2) ingredient information
 
     This is WAY too long. The expertise is already there. The slowest corporation in the world could accomplish this in 6 months.
 
6. The bill contains NO labeling provisions:
 
     How about 2 ideas?
          a. For pet food with meat and other "byproducts" a label that    reads "This pet food contains ingredients deemed unsuitable for human consumption." Like a cigarette pack.
          b. For pet food containing imported foodstuffs a label that read "This pet food contains ingredients imported from countries whose processing and inspection standard may not meet the same standards for U.S. produced products."
 
7. The bill allows the FDA 6 mos. to create the pet equivalent of the CDC, or Center for Disease Control and Prevention, that seems to work pretty well for humans.
 
     I actually think this part is pretty good.
 
Well, now you know how I feel. But that's just me.
 
To achieve amendments to SB 1274 and get it passed:
 
ITS GOING TO TAKE A LOT OF WORK FROM ALL OF US!
 
Email the bejeesus out of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and the rest of of the Senate. Then, when its passed the Senate, we go to work on the House.
 
BUT OUR PETS ARE WORTH IT AND DESERVE IT!
 
Mike Floyd
mike@defendourpets.org
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BruinMike
Full Member
***
Posts: 89


« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2007, 04:31:20 PM »

HERE'S A LETTER I SENT TO THE COMMITTEE LAST WEEK! Don't recommend
copying. Just use the ideas if you want. Looks dumb for a Senator to get 50 copies of the same letter.


Dear Senator ________,

I wish to express my strong support for SB 1274 which is currently before your committee. Many of have recently lost our pets or had our pets fall grievously and chronically ill because of weaknesses in the existing regulatory system.

The weaknesses need to be dealt with on all fronts, namely:

1.   Regulations
2.   Inspections (we need many more inspectors instead of the decline   that Senator Durbin has discussed).
3.   Enforcement
4.   Penalties

I would like to address what I see are some weaknesses in the bill in its current form.

1.   The bill allows the FDA TWO years to establish a system for certification of foreign foodstuff importation.

This is way too much time. Too much can happen in that time. 6 months should be more than adequate. I assume the FDA will always ask for more time than they need.

What about imports during this period? In the case of known violators (China?), ALL importation of foodstuffs should be halted until certification is approved.

2.   The bill allows for 5-year certification.

I recommend a 2-year certification with an annual certification fee. Tariffs on foreign foodstuffs being imported should also be considered to encourage use of domestic sources. The funds raised by these levies would be 100% devoted to increased inspection and enforcement.

3.   The bill calls for audits at least every 5 years.

Once again, the FDA is cutting themselves as much slack as they can get. This should be annually or, at the very least, every two years.

4.   Penalties of $10,000 per instance.

Chump change to the kinds of parties involved. These should be at least 5 to 10 times that number.



5.   The bill allows the FDA 18 months to enact standards for:
a.   processing & ingredient standards & tightening definitions for pet food.
b.   labeling standards for (1) nutritional information and (2) ingredient information.

Once again, way too much time…. Do we see a pattern here? The talent and expertise is already in place. The concepts have been discussed ad infinitum. The slowest corporation in the world could accomplish this in less than 6 months.

6.   The bill contains no mandated labeling provisions. It is almost impossible for the average citizen to determine what is healthy and safe.

We desperately need two warning labels:

a.   “Byproducts” – When you know what this means, we need a warning label like “This pet food contains ingredients deemed unsuitable for human consumption.”
b.   “Foreign Importation” – Until certification, we need a label like “This pet food contains ingredients imported from countries whose processing and inspection standards may not meet the same standards for U.S.-produced products.”

These changes obviously would go a long way towards improving the quality of both pet food and human food, as well.

With over 8,000 pets affected by the recent contamination, and with over 4,000 dead, I hope you see the importance of this legislation to the American consumer and your constituency.

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Janet
Guest
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2007, 06:36:31 AM »

Cody Bear,
Help, I'm a little confused about which bill is to be considered by the Senate Committee for Health, Education, etc. Earlier, it was stated that S.1274 was referred to the House for consideration and H.R.2108 was sent to Senate.
Which bill should I reference when I send my e-mail to the committee. Is this committee working on H.R.2108 or S.1274?
By the way, I e-mailed my Senators and Congressman about these bills, but I do agree that getting the word out to the committee that will actually be considering these bills is the best way to go.
Please respond with an answer as to which bill is to be taken up by this Senate committee.
Thanks.
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